Tag Archives: Ichetucknee River

WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting 2020-01-12

WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting

2 to 4 PM, Sunday, 12 January 2020
South Georgia Regional Library, 2906 Julia Dr, Valdosta, GA 31602
Dial-in Number: (712) 770-5505
Meeting ID: 855-676
facebook event

Outings in Santa Fe River subbasin, on the Suwannee, and at Banks Lake, Light Parade, Gear Swap, BIG Little River Paddle Race, finances, budget, membership, water quality monitoring, water trails, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, WWALS Boomerang paddle race, festivals, projects and programs, pipelines, LNG export, titanium mines, phosphate mines, Bill of Rights for Nature, and more.

[WWALS Logo]
WWALS Logo. Yes, S now stands for both Santa Fe and Suwannee, like A stands for both Alapaha and Alapahoochee, and L stands for both Little Rivers (one flowing into the Withlacoochee, the other into the Suwannee).
Our many rivers include four (Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers), six (plus New and Little Rivers flowing into the Withlacoochee), ten (plus Willacoochee, Alapahoochee, and Little Alapaha Rivers flowing into the Alapaha, and Dead River flowing out of it), thirteen (Black River, Little River, and Gopher River flowing into the Suwannee River), or fifteen (Ichetucknee and New River flowing into the Santa Fe River). Plus many creeks, swamps, lakes, and ponds, including our entire watersheds. wwals.net/maps/

Invited to attend: WWALS members, especially committee members, and the general public.
All WWALS Board Members are expected to attend in person or by telephone.
The more done on the board list, the less time we have to spend in this meeting.

See the WWALS website for board members and committees.

The agenda will be available later.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Ichetucknee and Santa Fe River New Year Outing 2020-01-04

Leisurely paddle on two of the newest additions to WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper: the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers. We will also paddle past the notorious Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10:30 AM, Saturday, January 4, 2020

Put In: Ichetucknee S.P. North Entrance, 8294 SW Elim Church Rd, Fort White, FL 32038.

GPS: 29.9859, -82.7602

Take Out: Hwy 129 Boat Ramp, William Guy Lemmons Memorial Park Ramp @ 296th St. Ramp, From Branford, travel east on US 27; turn right on US 129; travel south to 296th Street; turn right and William Guy Lemmons Memorial Park is on the left, in Suwannee County. 29.912717, -82.860514

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Fee: There is a $5.00 $6.00 park fee.

Event: facebook, meetup

Ichetucknee Confluence with Santa Fe River.
Photo: Beth Gammie for WWALS, Southwings Flight, November 23, 2016.

Continue reading

Defeat Suncoast Connector 2019-04-05

Please call your Florida state legislators to ask them to oppose a toll expressway across the Suwannee River, and maybe even across the Santa Fe or Ichetucknee Rivers. Instead, let’s do Amtrak passenger trains for better transportation and solar power for jobs and lower energy prices.

Map, Suncoast Connector, Defenders of Wildlife
Suncoast Connector, Defenders of Wildlife

This boondoogle would come up from Citrus County to Jefferson County. That’s all the bills (SB 7068 or HB 7113) say about the route.

Defenders of Wildlife has a corridor map that shows Suncoast Connector coming from Crystal River in Citrus County, through Gilchrist and maybe Alachua Counties, possibly crossing the Santa Fe River into Columbia County and the Ichetucknee River into Suwannee County. It would have to cross the Suwannee River somewhere, maybe into Dixie or Lafayette or even Madison County, heading on through Taylor County to Monticello in Jefferson County.

Here’s a better way to improve transportation in the Suwannee River Basin: revive Amtrak through Madison and Lake City. The tracks are already there, so Continue reading

World’s largest phosphate company after 20 years loses to DeSoto County, FL

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Mosaic Co., market cap $11.5 billion, just lost to DeSoto County, Florida, annual budget $84.3 million. Maybe this will help Bradford County to do the right thing about phosphate mines.

Craig Pittman, Tampa Bay Times, 26 July 2018, Mosaic spent 20 years planning new phosphate mine. DeSoto County has rejected it,

Mosaic Co., the world’s largest phosphate company, has spent two decades lining up a new mine in DeSoto County as part of a broader effort to move its operations south.

W across PCS Phosphate Mine,
Photo: Jim Tatum on Southwings flight for WWALS, 2016-10-22: W across PCS Phosphate Mine, 30.4429360, -82.7851800

But DeSoto County commissioners last week slammed the door in the company’s face, voting 4-1 against rezoning 18,000 acres from agricultural to mining.

A major concern: Continue reading

Nutrien (PCS) mining phosphate and water in Hamilton County and soon in Columbia County? 2018-07-11

Thanks to Jim Tatum of OSFR for spotting this op-ed in the Lake City Reporter yesterday by WWALS member and Practicing Geologist Dennis J. Price of Hamilton County, Florida about Nutrien (PCS) mining phosphate and water in Hamilton County and likely planning to expand to Columbia County.

Dennis Price explains, Down to a sunless sea
Photo by John S. Quarterman of Dennis J. Price at the Dead River of the Alapaha River, 2018-01-27.

To the Editor:

Much has been written in the last year about Sam Oosterhoudt’s mitigation bank. I was involved in permitting the bank through the Army Corps (ACOE) and The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation. It took about 5 years to get all the permits. Now, 9 years after work began on the project, the phosphate company (then PCS now Nutrien) petitioned the state to shut down the mitigation bank.

I do not know for sure, but, Nutrien may tell you that during the recent sale of PCS and the review of mineral interests owned, they discovered that the mitigation bank had snuck in there and set up shop over their minerals. This probably has some truth to it but I think there is a much more involved reason.

In Hamilton County, Nurtrien/PCS is planning to run out of phosphate to mine in about 10 years, give or take a few years either way. I do not believe they are planning on shutting the doors and leaving. Occidental Chemical Company started mining in Hamilton County Continue reading

Dead River Sink and Iche Nippy Dip Day 2018-01-06

Reminder: the first leg of the Alapaha Quest has been rescheduled for Saturday, January 27, 2018, so see you at Sheboggy Landing then, not tomorrow.

However, if you want to get out in the cold this Saturday, January 6, 2018, other groups have two outings scheduled in the Suwannee River Basin: Alapaha Dead River Hike and Iche Nippy Dip Day.

Iche Nippy Dip Day

Ichetucknee Springs State Park says: Continue reading

SWIM Plan Meeting, Live Oak 2017-10-03

Nitrates, agriculture, and silviculture were already in, and sewage, phosphate mines, and the Floridan Aquifer got added yesterday afternoon in Live Oak in public comments on updates to SRWMD’s SWIM Plans, plus new SRWMD E.D. Hugh Thomas spoke.

Audience with back of Hugh Thomas, Coastal Rivers Basin Presentation

Thanks to presenter Tom Singleton, the slides presented are on the WWALS website. Here are a few notes and pictures.

Floridan Aquifer

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson of Sierra Club Florida noted Continue reading

Public meeting, Live Oak, Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) 2017-10-03

When: 1:30PM to 4:30PM, Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Where: SRWMD Office, 9225 County Road 49, Live Oak, Florida

Event: Suwannee River SWIM Plan public meeting

Received this morning:

Suwannee River and Coastal Rivers SWIM Plan interested parties:

In 2016, the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) received funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to develop consolidated updates to the Continue reading

How big are WWALS watersheds?

Seems like an easy question, but requires some research: how many square miles are drained by the rivers in WWALS watersheds?

Summary Table

This is the answer:

Upper Suwannee River1,9048162,720
Lower Suwannee River01,590 1,590
Santa Fe River01,4001,400

Suwannee River Basin5,7204,2309,950

Extended Table

Here’s a slightly much extended version of the summary table above:


Withlacoochee River(inc. Little)2,09037%2706%2,36024%
Withlacoochee RiverHUC 03110203(1,206)21%(270)6%(1,510)15%
Little RiverHUC 03110204(860)15%(0)0%(860)9%

Alapaha RiverHUC 031102021,72630%1143%1,84018%
(Willacoochee River)(233)4%(0)0%(233)2%

Upper Suwannee RiverHUC 03102011,90433%81619%2,72027%
Lower Suwannee RiverHUC 0311020500%1,59038%1,59016%

Santa Fe RiverHUC 0311020600%1,40033%1,40014%

Suwannee River BasinAU 0311025,720100%4,230100%9,950100%
GA/FL Basin%57%43%100%

For comparison:

  • 1,300 square miles: St Marys River (765 in Georgia; 535 in Florida)
  • 4,000 square miles: Satilla River
  • 5,540 square miles: Ogeechee River
  • 8,460 square miles: Flint River
  • 8,770 square miles: Chattahoochee River (5,940 in Georgia and 2,830 in Alabama)
  • 9,950 square miles: Suwannee River (5,720 in Georgia; 4,230 in Florida)
  • 10,577 square miles: Savannah River (5,821 in Georgia; 4,756 in South Carolina)
  • 13,600 square miles: Altamaha River (including Ocmulgee and Oconee)

And of course WWALS territory has much lower population than most of those other watersheds.

Notes on Sources

The above figures are from River Basins of the United States: The Suwannee, by USGS, unknown date (but uses 1980 city populations),

The basin drainage area is 9,950 square miles, of which 5,720 square miles are in southern Georgia. The basin area of the Withlacoochee River, the largest tributary, is 2,360 square miles, of which 2,090 square miles are in Georgia. The basin area of the Alapaha River is 1,840 square miles, of which 1,726 are in Georgia.

But stay tuned: there’s much more for comparison.

Update 2019-11-08: after adding Santa Fe River Basin on September 26, 2019.

Update 2018-01-04: Lower Suwannee River; see Suwannee Riverkeeper.
Update 2015-11-01: After addition of the upper Suwannee River as WWALS territory.
Update 2015-06-02: added HUC from a USGS summary, and Upper and Lower Suwannee with Extended Table, and corrected some arithmetic.

Divergent Sources

Or is that the answer? Suwannee River Watershed, Florida’s Water, Florida Department of Environmental Protection,

The Suwannee River originates in Georgia and flows southwest to the Gulf of Mexico. It is the largest watershed in the state, covering 7,702 square miles.

7,702 + 3,816 = 11,518, which is larger than 9,950, and doesn’t even include the parts of the upper Suwannee River in Georgia.

This Georgia River Network page on the Suwannee River also has a too-large number:

The Suwannee River Basin drains approximately 11,020 square miles….

Convergent Sources

River Basin Characteristics, in Suwanee River Basin Plan, by GA EPD, unknown date,

The portion of the Suwannee River basin located entirely in Georgia drains approximately 5,560 square miles. The Suwannee River Basin in Georgia includes the waters of the Alapaha and Withlacoochee Rivers which flow south into Florida and join the Suwannee River which empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The Suwannee River basin drains approximately 10,000 square miles, with approximately 5,560 square miles of the basin in Georgia….

The headwaters of the Suwannee River drain approximately 574 square miles of the Okefenokee Swamp. The Suwannee River flows southwest through Georgia for 33 miles before entering Florida. Once in Florida, the Suwannee converges with two of its tributaries, the Alapaha and Withlacoochee rivers, which both originate in Georgia. The Suwannee River is a blackwater stream with extremely acidic waters. A pH reading of 3.6 was recorded July 22, 1997 (U.S. Geological Survey, 1997).

The GA-EPD numbers more or less match the USGS numbers, with the FL-DEP (and GRN) numbers being much different.

In another publication FL-DEP agreed on the Suwannee and Alapaha River Basin totals, but not on the Withlacoochee River. Nutrient and Dissolved Oxygen TMDL for the Suwannee River, etc. 24 September 2008,

The Suwannee Basin drains approximately 10,000 square miles of south Georgia and north Florida, discharging an annual average of approximately 10,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). The Suwannee River is the second largest river in the state in terms of flow. Within the Suwannee Basin, the Alapaha, Withlacoochee, and Upper Suwannee watersheds lie almost entirely in Georgia. These are dominated by surface water runoff, as are the Florida portions of the basin in the Northern Highlands region. After crossing the Cody Scarp, ground water discharges from springs and diffuse seepage strongly influences the Suwannee River and makes up the baseflow of the river….

The Alapaha River drains approximately 1,800 square miles in Georgia and Florida and joins the Suwannee southwest of Jasper, Florida. The Alapaha River flows through karst terrain with numerous sinkholes, stream sinks, and springs. At times, sinkholes in the streambed capture the river’s entire flow. Once underground, the river flows through solution channels in the limestone for approximately 19 miles and is presumed to emerge at two springs: Alapaha Rise and Holton Creek. The Withlacoochee River, which drains approximately 1,500 square miles in Georgia and Florida, originates near Tifton, Georgia, and flows south past Valdosta, Georgia, to join the Suwannee River at Ellaville. The flow in the Withlacoochee River is highly variable, reflecting the river’s response to rainfall in the watershed. The river is affected by wastewater treatment plant discharges in Tifton and Valdosta and pulp mill discharge in Jumping Gully Creek at the state line.

Since 1,500 is quite a bit less than 2,360, it looks to me like FL-DEP forgot about the Little River tributary of the Withlacoochee River. If so, that gives us an estimate for the Little River: 2,360 – 1,500 = 860 square miles.

Here’s another tidbit. Appendix A, The Alapaha – Willacoochee River Watershed Restoration Action Strategy Implementation Project, Seven Rivers RCD, unknown date,

The Alapaha — Willacoochee River Subwatershed is located in south-central Georgia within the Alapaha River Watershed (HUC 03110202). It has an approximate land area of 148,286 acres (233 square miles) and flows through Ben Hill, Irwin, Coffee, Berrien and Atkinson counties.

So the Willacoochee River, being long and thin, doesn’t actually drain many square miles.

I’ll go with the numbers in the summary table.

Santa Fe and Ichetucknee Rivers

For comparison, from Chapter 2: Basin Overview, in Water Quality Assessment Report: Suwannee,

The Santa Fe River, a tributary to the Suwannee River, is in some respects a smaller version of the Suwannee. This river system drains about 1,400 square miles of north Florida, discharging an annual average of more than 1,600 cfs. The Santa Fe River flows west from its headwaters in the Santa Fe Lakes area, in the easternmost portion of the watershed, joining the Suwannee near Branford. Its two important tributaries, New River and Olustee Creek, have their headwaters in southern Baker County. A third tributary, the Ichetucknee River, is a clear, spring-fed stream and a very popular recreational site.

The Upper Santa Fe watershed, in the Northern Highlands, is dominated by surface water runoff. At the Cody Scarp, the river goes underground and reemerges supplemented by ground water flow. As the Santa Fe flows across the Gulf Coastal Lowlands, it gains significant flow from numerous springs, including the Ichetucknee River. Because ground water dominates its flow, the Lower Santa Fe is for the most part a spring-fed river.

The eastern two-thirds of the Santa Fe watershed has surface drainage features, including lakes, streams, and wetlands. The western third lacks surface drainage, except for the Santa Fe and Ichetucknee Rivers and Cow Creek. The upper watershed is characterized by nearly level pine flatwoods with gently rolling hills. Tributary streams are fairly well incised into the landscape, which occasionally opens into broad, forested floodplains. In the middle portion of the watershed, moderate to gently rolling hills with areas of prominent karstic features, such as sink depressions and captured streams, create surface relief. The lower watershed is primarily a broad, slightly undulating karst plain with interspersed wetlands.

So the Santa Fe River is much like the Alapaha River, except the Santa Fe is completely in Florida and has more springs, especially in its tributary the Ichetucknee River.

Why Divergent

That FL-DEP chapter has a clue to how FL-DEP can have another, much higher, square mile number: it also reports on other nearby rivers that do not actually flow into the Suwannee River, such as the Aucilla, Econofina, and Fenholloway Rivers. Indeed, it says right at the beginning of the chapter:

The Suwannee Group 1 Basin covers 7,702 square miles in north central Florida within all or part of 14 counties. Portions of the basin in several watersheds also extend into southern Georgia. The basin area discussed in this report encompasses most, but not all, of the area within the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD). The Suwannee Group 1 Basin includes the watersheds of the following river basins, as identified by their eight-digit hydrologic unit codes (HUCs)— Upper Suwannee, Lower Suwannee, Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Aucilla, Econfina—Steinhatchee, Santa Fe, and Waccasassa.

So that larger Florida number is not actually for the Suwannee River Basin, and the USGS numbers in the table are correct.

USGS HUC square miles

USGS has a handy summary in Boundary Descriptions and Names of Regions, Subregions, Accounting Units and Cataloging Units which confirms that the larger area number includes several river systems that do not flow into the Suwannee:

Subregion 0311 — Suwannee: The coastal drainage and associated waters from the Withlacoochee River Basin boundary to and including the Aucilla River Basin. Florida, Georgia.
Area = 13800 sq.mi.

Accounting Unit 031101 — Aucilla-Waccasassa: The coastal drainage and associated waters from the Withlacoochee River Basin boundary to and including the Aucilla River Basin, excluding the Suwannee River Basin. Florida, Georgia.
Area = 3870 sq.mi.

Cataloging Units

03110101 — Waccasassa. Florida.
Area = 936 sq.mi.

03110102 — Econfina-Steinhatchee. Florida.
Area = 1930 sq.mi.

03110103 — Aucilla. Florida, Georgia.
Area = 1000 sq.mi.

None of those rivers are in the Suwannee River Basin proper. And Withlacoochee to Aucilla makes no sense to categorize their location since the Aucilla River is west of the Withlacoochee while the Waccasassa River is east.

Fortunately, that USGS HUC reference also has (much of) what we’re looking for:

Accounting Unit 031102 — Suwannee: The Suwannee River Basin. Florida, Georgia.
Area = 9930 sq.mi.

Cataloging Units

03110201 — Upper Suwannee. Florida, Georgia.
Area = 2720 sq.mi.

03110202 — Alapaha. Florida, Georgia.
Area = 1840 sq.mi.

03110203 — withlacoochee. Florida, Georgia.
Area = 1510 sq.mi.

03110204 — Little. Georgia.
Area = 884 sq.mi.

03110205 — Lower Suwannee. Florida.
Area = 1590 sq.mi.

03110206 — Santa Fe. Florida.
Area = 1390 sq.mi.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Announcing the Formation of the Florida Springs Council

Our Suwannee River tributary neighbors have joined other Florida watershed groups in forming a Florida Springs Council.

PR from the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, January 2014,

On December 4, 2014, seven representatives from various Florida springs advocacy groups “ Friends of Warm Mineral Springs, the Ichetucknee Alliance, the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, the Kings Bay Springs Alliance, Our Santa Fe River, Inc., Save the Manatee Club, the Wakulla Springs Alliance, and Withlacoochee Aquatic Restoration, Inc. (formerly Withlacoochee Area Residents, Inc.) “ met as the Organizing Committee for the Florida Springs Council. This ad hoc organization will be comprised of representatives from all Florida organizations that focus all or part of their group’s energies on springs issues and, by extension, issues that affect the Floridan aquifer that feeds the springs.

The Withlacoochee mentioned is central Florida’s Withlacoochee River, but of course WWALS’ south Georgia and north Florida Withlacoochee River has the same kind of springs. Continue reading